Global Coalition on Aging Applauds White House Conference on Aging for Shining Light on Seminal Policy Issue of 21st Century

WASHINGTON, DC (July 13, 2015) – The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) applauds the White House for convening the 2015 White House Conference on Aging to focus on the most transformational issue of the 21st century – the aging of America’s population. The Conference will serve as a marker for the United States demonstrating how we as a nation can most effectively address the aging of our population, which is already having a major impact on all countries around the world. Shining light on the challenges and opportunities associated with our aging society is the first step toward maximizing the potential of longer lives and the related aging of the population.

“Aging is undoubtedly the most consequential megatrend of our time, and it stretches far beyond public policy and election cycles,” said Michael W. Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging. “Too often people think aging is simply an issue for the elderly. But this demographic shift impacts the young as well as the old and has serious implications for the future of American economic growth, wealth creation, and prosperity.”

The outlook is clear: By 2020, there will be 1 billion people over 60 years old worldwide, with implications for working longer, retiring differently, and staying more active and healthy across the life course. In America alone, labor force participation for those over 65 grew from 12% to 19% between 1990 and 2013, leading to the expansion of our country’s human capital potential and a new source for sustaining economic growth. Further, by 2017, Americans over 60 will hold more than 70% of all disposable income, which is a dramatic indicator that viewing and treating America’s older demographic differently than in past decades is a must.

Further, as Americans work longer, caregivers who balance work and caring for an aging loved one are increasing in number, extremely stretched and in need of new and innovative approaches to tackle these challenges. In America today, there are approximately seven caregivers for every person over 80 – a number that is projected to fall below three by 2050. And, to exacerbate the condition of eldercare in America, there is an anticipated shortage of 1 million nurses in the U.S. in the next five years.

“When it comes to care, seniors and their family caregivers simply need to have choices for how and where they receive that care,” said Jeff Huber, President and CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. “Twentieth-century care models are now obsolete, and it is time we developed a long-term plan to meet the growing care need in this country. If done properly, America can also serve as a model for the rest of the world where the gap between supply of professional elder caregivers and need is exploding.”

GCOA’s work is centered on three areas: the silver economy, active and healthy aging, and care – all which focus on how to enable the aging population through 21st century innovation.  GCOA applauds the Conference for addressing its four key issues of healthy aging, long term services and supports, elder justice, and retirement security through this same lens, which will also be reinforced by a number of GCOA members who will be participating.

“This period of longevity revolution we’re living in requires that we rethink traditional and outdated notions of work, retirement and later life planning considering many of us will live 20 to 30 years longer than generations past,” said Andy Sieg, Head of Global Wealth & Retirement Solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  “We need bold new thinking, innovation and leadership from the private and public sectors alike. We are pleased to participate in the White House Conference on Aging to help frame the conversation and actions to be taken to better meet the needs of our aging population during the decades ahead. As a founding member of the Global Coalition on Aging, we are proud to represent its optimistic perspective on turning longevity into an asset for America.”

GCOA continues to lead the dialogue on aging with global governments, NGOs, industry, and academics. GCOA’s next global summit will be in Shenyang, P.R. China this month and will focus on the role for age-friendly cities and a life course approach to skin health to promote and enable healthy and active aging. “Nestlé Skin Health has been collaborating with GCOA since its founding in 2011 to advance a healthier and more active aging – not only for the 1 billion of us over 60, but for today and tomorrow’s young population who will face skin challenges as they experience longevity into their 80, 90s, and even past 100,” said Humberto Antunes, CEO, Nestlé Skin Health, a GCOA founding member.  “We, too, applaud the WHCOA for raising the level of dialogue and understanding around healthy and active aging for America in the 21st century.”

“America’s aging population does not just affect the elderly, it affects everyone. The implications are profound and far-reaching, including individuals, families, employers, government programs, and even our culture,” said Catherine Collinson, President of the Transamerica Institute, a nonprofit private foundation, and Executive Director of Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement. “Working together, policy makers, academia, nonprofits, and industry can successfully address the issues, while creating innovative new solutions that will improve the lives of Americans and ultimately strengthen our society.”

“Public policy, corporate strategies, and societal responses will determine how we make the changes needed to meet the challenges of living longer and an increasing aging population,” said Hodin. “We are confident in the promise and unbound opportunity ahead, but it means aligning individual and public changes to the realities of 21st century aging. If the WHCOA can be a step in this direction, we will have achieved a great deal at the Conference. Our members stand ready to work in partnership with the White House in the days and months following the Conference.”

Latest Developments

We keep our members and partners in touch with the most recent updates and opinions in the worldwide dialogue on population longevity and related issues.

Building the Caregiving Workforce an Aging World Needs

We will learn many lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of the most urgent and obvious is the vulnerability of older populations to serious public health risks. Across OECD countries, nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths happened in care facilities and nursing homes—yet less than 1% of the population lives in those facilities. COVID-19 demonstrated that the best place for all citizens to stay safe and healthy, especially aging adults, is in the home. And the vast majority of the older population—80% according to AARP—prefer it. When—or if—they have that option.

The 21st-Century Employer Must Be a Steward of Public Health

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, forward-looking business leaders and employers were focused on the global mega-trend of aging as an essential factor in their talent strategy. Now, the pandemic has only underscored the critical importance of aging for every business.

GCOA Report Examines the Role of Inflammation in the Aging Process, as an Indicator of Other Health Challenges, and as a Needed Focus of Integrated Care

29 June 2021 – The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) today released a report, A Proactive Approach to Healthy Aging: The Role of Inflammation Control & Integrated Care, which examines how targeting chronic inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases (CIDs) can contribute to healthy aging around the world. The report’s findings were highlighted at Women Political Leaders (WPL) Summit 2021 today during a panel titled “WPL Policy Toolkit – Women’s health through their life-course.”

New Report Calls for Employers to Have an Internal Public Health Strategy to Navigate the Aging Post-Pandemic World

25 June 2021 – The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) today released a new report, Employers’ Role in the COVID-19 Environment: Winning in the Vastly Changed World of Work. It highlights the unique convergence between the megatrend of aging and the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace and offers insights to inform employers’ public health and workforce strategies at this intersection.  Chief among the report’s key findings is the guidance to all employers “to elevate public health as a central feature of their culture and embed it into management.”

New Index Ranking 11 Countries’ Ability to Tackle Rising Threat of Resistance to Antimicrobials Shows Need for Urgent Action

New York, NEW YORK and Washington, DC (June 23, 2021) – Today the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) launched the first-ever global AMR Preparedness Index, a first-of-its-kind evaluation of how the governments of the 11 largest global economies are living up to their commitments to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Global Alliance on Heart Failure & Healthy Aging Unveils New Report Projecting Sharp Rise in Heart Failure Mortality Linked to Population Aging and Missed or Late Diagnosis

New York, NY – June 10, 2021 – Today, the Global Alliance on Heart Failure and Healthy Aging unveiled a new report, Undiagnosed Heart Failure: A Growing Public Health Risk and Looming Financial Iceberg for Aging Societies. The report examines the link between aging and heart failure, recognizing that a significant portion of heart failure deaths occurs in the older population.

Ageism: how age discrimination can be fought in society and the workplace – but older people have to stop believing the stereotypes first

Ageism is something that’s likely to affect everybody as they grow older and it should be treated as seriously as other “isms”, such as racism and sexism. That was the main takeaway from a recent “Solutions to Combat Ageism” webinar, organised in New York by the Global Coalition on Ageing, which aims to educate and drive change to improve older people’s health, productivity and social engagement.